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Congress: Sanders raises money off shooting

Roll Call notes that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I) and Tea Party Express sent out fundraising e-mails off of the shooting in Arizona. In part, Sanders wrote, “In light of all of this violence ­­— both actual and threatened — is Arizona a state in which people who are not Republicans are able to participate freely and fully in the democratic process?” And: “On Monday, the Tea Party Express began a fundraising effort to ask supporters to help it fight ‘liberals’ who are attempting to link their movement to the events in Arizona. Tuesday, it followed that up with a new appeal to ‘stand with Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh + Tea Party.’ Tea Party Express officials asked supporters to give as little as $5 to ‘fight back.’ ‘We want to have our largest fundraising day in the history of our organization and we need your help to achieve this success,’ they wrote.”

Sanders spokesman’s response to First Read: “This was an e-mail letter that the senator’s campaign sends out, and will continue to send out, to supporters in Vermont and around the country on a regular basis. This quite long newsletter gives the senator’s views on the major issues facing our country. Most of the space in this newsletter dealt with the senator’s views on the economic implications of what will be happening in the new Congress. Given the enormity of the tragedy in Arizona, however, it would have been absurd not to comment on what happened there.

And so much for staying away from apocalyptic rhetoric: Tea Party Nation sent out an e-mail criticizing Rep. Pete King (R-NY) for wanting to outlaw guns within 1,000 feet of elected officials calling him, the “Republican Idiot of the Day.” From the e-mail: “As we say in the South, Congressman Peter King (R-NY) is a few fries shy of a Happy Meal. Idiocy by members of Congress is nothing new. This idiocy threatens not only our Constitutional rights but our very liberty.”

Boehner’s spokesman said the speaker would not support King’s bill. Eric Cantor’s spokesman, however, said it is important to read the bill before forming an opinion.

The death of the energy lobbyist, former Hill staffer and wife of a White House aide is still being investigated. “Although homicide detectives were called to the scene, a Metropolitan Police Department news release on Monday said a low-speed crash probably caused the fire,” Roll Call writes. “It’s quite possible that the victim was maneuvering the car and came in contact with some kind of flammable chemical materials,” D.C. Fire Department spokesman Pete Piringer told Roll Call on Monday.

Roll Call says get used to seeing New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte in the spotlight. She’s a woman, a quarter-century younger than the GOP leadership, and the only one born North of Kentucky.